Gender activist and artiste Diniz Sanchez is in Kochi for a classical dance workshop

author_img Likhitha P Nair Published :  27th September 2019 06:00 AM   |   Published :   |  27th September 2019 06:00 AM

Diniz Sanchez

Diniz Sanchez, A Portuguese performer and stage director has made India his second home since 2010. The 45-year-old shifted his base to Kerala, and instantly fell in love with the vibrant culture here, accepting the name Chandrashekharan. Apart from mastering koodiyattam under scholar G Venu, he has worked with multiple musicians, painters, and dancers across the country. Originally a trained ballet artist, Diniz is in Kochi this weekend for a workshop on the Western classical art form.

Brighten the ballet  
Diniz believes that performance is beyond the boundaries of gender and social norms. The activist in him disapproves of art being judged based on sexuality or its variations. This is why he zeroed in on the concept of Spicy Tutuboy, a gender-fluid character that performs in a tutu skirt. The idea occurred to him while performing at an interactive event in France. “It is an unwritten rule even in the artistic realm for characters to be either feminine or masculine. Tender emotions are for the female characters, and it is not widely accepted from a man,” Diniz adds. But, he believes that an artiste should never be afraid of ridicule, and moreover urges tutu boy to have a close relationship with the audience. “People usually give me compliments like ‘she is beautiful’, and I ask them what makes them think it is a she. I haven’t shaved my legs or taken off my beard, but it is the power of perception,” he adds. Diniz curated and performed a piece earlier this year (in Goa) that vocalised the repression of women by conservative societies. “The 
production involved covering the character with a black veil and hijab, and underneath that she wears a motorcycle mask. It highlights the different layers of suppression and expression of a woman’s freedom,” he says.

Diniz as Spicy Tutuboy

The first step
His three-hour workshop in the city will be an induction into the world of Western classical dance. “Ballet is to us what Bharatanatyam is to the East. Though I branched out to multiple performance forms, I would still consider ballet to be the base for all of them,” he adds. The class would cover an introduction to classical ballet, basic steps, jargons, and body exercises like bending, stretching, jumps and turns. “You can’t consume the entire dance form in such a short span, but I am sure it would inspire professionals to experiment,” informs the artiste. 

 At Mamangam, Palarivattom.
On September 28, from 4.30 pm.
(With inputs from Farah Khatoon)